Each year we invite a leader in sustainable food systems to speak to our students.
Announcing 2013 Visiting Scholar
Green Mountain College Announces Bon Appétit’s Helene York as Visiting Scholar for Graduate Program
POULTNEY--Green Mountain College is pleased to announce that Helene York, director of purchasing strategy for Bon Appétit Management and director of the Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation, will be a visiting scholar for the College’s M.S. in Sustainable Food Systems (MSFS) program.
Bon Appétit Management Company provides café and catering services to corporations, colleges and universities, with over 400 locations in 32 states.
“Helene and the Bon Appétit Company share many of the same goals and values as GMC,” said Philip Ackerman-Leist, MSFS program director. “She is a strong advocate for combining culinary expertise with a commitment to socially and environmentally responsible purchasing practices. Her background in weaving sophisticated sustainability practices into the fabric of what is arguably the most progressive food service corporation in the country will help our students understand leverage points for change in the corporate sectors of our food system.”
York will attend the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) Winter Conference with GMC undergraduate and graduate students February 16-17, and she will then visit the GMC campus February 18-21, the residency period for 41 students in the MSFS program. The four-day residency will include lectures, discussions, informal conversations and at least one public presentation.
York earned an undergraduate degree at Harvard and a master’s degree at Yale. As director of purchasing strategy at Bon Appétit, she is responsible for identifying new products, managing supply chains, and performing supplier relations for the company’s Farm to Fork program. As director of the Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation, she educates chefs and consumers about how food choices affect the global environment. In April 2007, she launched the company’s successful Low Carbon Diet program to raise awareness of connections between the food system and climate change, and to reduce emissions associated with Bon Appétit’s food service operations. She was instrumental in shifting corporate purchasing away from threatened fish species toward sustainably sourced supplies. She was a founding board member of FishChoice.com and is currently a director of Humane Farm Animal Care. Since 2009 York has been a regular contributor to the Atlantic Monthly online.
York recently led Bon Appétit’s commitment to ensure that all the company’s pork will be sourced from farms that don’t use gestation stalls (densely packed metal cages that imprison sows in spaces so tight they can’t turn around) by 2015.
“Good animal welfare isn’t just about the animals,” York wrote in a recent column that appeared in Civil Eats. “It’s about starting to dismantle a system that has enormous costs for our society, including the loss of medically important antibiotics, the pollution of our air and water from animal waste, and horrible working conditions in factory farms.”
Announcing 2012 Scholar in Residence
Fred Kirschenmann is president of Kirschenmann Family Farms, a 3,500-acre certified organic farm in Windsor, North Dakota, where he also was president (1990-1999) of Farm Verified Organic, a private organic certification agency.
He is a leader of the organic/sustainable agriculture movement, and has served on many boards and advisory committees of such organizations. He has completed a five-year term on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Organic Standards Board, and has chaired the administrative council for the USDA's North Central Region's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. He recently completed work for the North Dakota Commission on the Future of Agriculture, and was a charter member of the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society in 1979.
He has been a member of the board of directors for the Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture since 1994, and was president in 1997.
"My academic background in philosophical studies has trained me to always ask the questions behind the questions. This discipline has been very useful to me on the farm, too, and my involvement in national organic agriculture organizations. We make assumptions about things but we don't look at what those assumptions are based on. I will question assumptions and make sure that the fundamental ideas that we may be trying to adopt and operate by are sound and valid. I don't think we do enough of that in sustainable agriculture," he says.
He earned degrees from Yankton College in South Dakota, Hartford Theological Seminary in Connecticut, and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Chicago, where he earned numerous awards including a Rockefeller Fellowship. He was the first chair of the Department of Religion at Yankton College, and was Dean of the College at Curry College in Boston. He has authored or co-authored numerous articles and book chapters dealing with ethics and agriculture.